Lamb Smoking Times and Temperature

Lamb Smoking Times and Temperature

At what temperature should you smoke lamb and how long will it take? 

In this blog, we will go through what we think is the best temperature to smoke lamb and the approximate time it will take until it is ready. 

I'm not sure about you, but I absolutely LOVE smoked lamb! Actually, I enjoy lamb cooked with charcoal in general, whether it be a whole lamb on a spit, a few shoulders cut up into Greek-style gyros, cutlets over the grill or a shoulder or a leg cooked low and slow in a smoker. It always comes out amazing and with the smell drifting over the fence, without a doubt the neighbour always pops his head over to see what's cooking. 

I feel that lamb is often overlooked in favour of the more popular cuts such as brisket, pork ribs and pulled pork. If you haven't tried smoked lamb before, I'm hoping that this will twist your arm.  Grab your meat thermometer, lamb and BBQ smoker and you're good to go. 

Before we get started though, I just wanted to go right back to basics, especially if you've never smoked anything before. There are two types of smoking, cold smoking and hot smoking. To be clear, what I'm talking about here is hot smoking, where the temperature of the smoker is at least 100°c degrees. If you're just starting out you could cheat a little and use a gas smoker and get the smokey flavour by adding wood chips, but I personally use lump charcoal and smoking wood in what is commonly referred to as an offset smoker or a stick burner

Once you're all set up, the key is to keep an eye on your smoker's temperature as well as the internal temperature of the lamb. A multi-probe BBQ thermometer will help you with this task. There are so many variables as to how long it'll take the lamb to be ready (how many kgs it is, the outside temperature etc) but below is a rough guide to get you started. 


  Time Smoking Temp Finished Temp
Leg 8 hrs 107 - 120 C or 225 - 250 °F 80 C or 175 °F
Shoulder 7 hrs 107 - 120 C or 225 - 250 °F 88 C or 190 °F
Shank  5 hrs 107 - 120 C or 225 - 250 ¬∞F 93 C or 200 ¬∞F


Lamb Leg cooking tips

Lamb's leg ideally cooks for a duration of 8 hours at a smoker temperature of 107 - 120°c (225 – 250 °F). Until your lamb shows a temperature of around 80° C which you can check via a meat thermometer, you should not remove it. Technically lamb is completely fine to eat at 60°c degrees, but what you're aiming for is for all the connective tissues in the lamb to simply melt and be super moist.


Lamb Shoulder Cooking Tips

Lamb shoulder typically takes 7 hours to cook at a smoker temperature of 107 - 120°c (225 – 250 °F). You could go for a boneless lamb shoulder, but I like it to be cooked with the bone in.  

Also before cooking, make sure you trim the excess fat and rub the meat with your favourite mixture or paste. We highly recommend the Flaming Coals traditional lamb rub or you can flow the recipe in our other blog, Cooking a leg of lamb on a spit roaster. Like all smoked meat, stick your knife into it to see if it’s done and make sure to spritz your meat occasionally if it’s not done yet.


How to measure the temperature of your meat when smoking?

To check the temperature, you should probably have to buy a good digital meat thermometer.  We recommend the EZTemp remote thermometer. It has 2 probes that allow you to stab one into the lamb and the other at grill level on your smoker. The beauty of this thermometer is that you can set minimum and maximum alarms so that you get a reminder when the temperature of your smoker falls/spikes and also when your meat is ready. While gauges on smokers give you a guesstimate" of the ambient temperature inside your smoker, a digital thermometer is more accurate. 

Remember, this is just a general guide. Other factors can affect how your meat is cooked in the smoker, such as:

  • The thickness of the meat
  • Whether the meat has been deboned
  • How much fat does the meat have
  • How hot/cold it is outside and how well-insulated the smoker is 
  • The type of smoker ( check out our smoker buying guide to help you choose the best smoker for you)
  • Using wood lump charcoal, as well as the type of smoking wood chunks you use, affects the flavour of the meat.
  • Whether the meat was brought up to room temperature or not

Check out some of our delicious smoking recipes, or read through our blog on how to cook a whole lamb on a spit.

by: Rhiannon Peterson